New Investments to Retain Doctors, Improve Care to Nova Scotians

More Nova Scotians will be connected to a primary care provider and recent graduates of Dalhousie family medicine will gain valuable hands-on experience as a result of a $6.3-million investment over the next four years.

The new funding will build on the success of a unique partnership between Dalhousie family medicine clinics and Nova Scotia Health, which has helped hundreds of people without a family doctor receive faster care from the appropriate providers.

“Improving healthcare is the most pressing issue for Nova Scotians,” said Premier Tim Houston. “We need new ideas to fix long-standing issues and to help better recruit and retain healthcare professionals so that Nova Scotians can access the care they need.”

The funding will help new graduates and new doctors to the province establish practices, starting at Dalhousie family medicine clinics where they will gain experience working alongside other care providers, including licensed practical nurses, family practice nurses, social workers, pharmacists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists – the preferred work environment of many new doctors. Following their time working with Dalhousie family medicine clinics, doctors will be supported in transitioning to their own practice and will maintain their roster of patients.   

The funding also provides new doctors with valuable mentorship opportunities, as well as administrative support when bringing on new patients so they can focus on responding to patient needs. 

“Adopting new ideas and new ways of doing things is what drives better care for patients. We’ve seen success with innovation in other areas of our healthcare system. These projects will help doctors put down roots in our communities and help patients receive the right care.” 
     – Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness

“I’m so relieved to finally have a family doctor for me, and for my wife and children. I was able to share our health history with a nurse over the phone. This saved us from needing to go in and sit in a waiting room, or to meet with a doctor only to share this same information. Things can be super busy with two small children. This saved us time and trouble, which we obviously welcomed.” 
     – Michael MacDonald, new patient, Dalhousie Family Medicine Clinic

“We are so thankful for our partners who have made this project possible. We know that this is the beginning of a new way of looking at how we can meet providers’ needs and, in turn, help them meet the needs of patients and families across Nova Scotia.” 
     – Dr. Nicole Boutilier, Vice-President of Medicine, Nova Scotia Health

“This project is an example of our collective contributions to the future of primary healthcare in the province. Combining new and improved clinical practice and learning environments in primary healthcare has the potential to promote the recruitment of learners and retention of our clinical teachers. Dalhousie family medicine is grateful for the investment and the opportunity to partner with Nova Scotia Health to develop and implement these collaborative care clinics. We look forward to their future impact on primary care for Nova Scotians.”
     – Dr. Katherine Stringer, Department Head, Dalhousie family medicine

Quick Facts:
— Dalhousie family medicine clinics are the clinical teaching environments of Dalhousie University’s department of family medicine and are part of the training of family medicine residents
— to date, more than 780 people in the communities of Fairview, Armdale, Spryfield, Herring Cove and Halifax Chebucto have been connected with a primary care provider through these projects at Dalhousie family medicine clinics
— the Province’s Action for Health plan includes working with Dalhousie Medical School’s family medicine clinics to take 3,500 more people from the Need a Family Practice Registry

Additional Resources:
Action for Health, the government’s strategic plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia:

Source: Release

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